India demands PLA’s withdrawal from Pangong Tso area, de-escalation at Galway Valley during marathon top-level military talks | India News

NEW DELHI: India on Monday pressed for the withdrawal of Chinese troops from Indian territory in the Pangong Tso area of eastern Ladakh, while expressing outrage at the “premediated and pre-planned” brutal violence unleashed against Indian soldiers in Galwan Valley on June 15, during the second round of top-level military talks on Monday.
India strongly reiterated its demand for restoration of status quo as it existed in mid-April, which would involve People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops pulling back from the “Finger 4 to 8” (mountainous spurs separated by an 8-km distance) area on the north bank of Pangong Tso as well as de-inducting its military build-ups in areas facing the Galwan Valley, Gogra-Hotsprings, Depsang and Chushul in eastern Ladakh, said sources.
There was no official word on the outcome of the second round of talks between 14 Corps commander Lt-General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin, who had held a similar dialogue for the first time on June 6. The meeting on Monday began at 11.30 am and continued till 10.30 pm on the Chinese side of the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point in eastern Ladakh.
The extended Moldo meeting took place even as General M M Naravane in New Delhi reviewed the “operational ground situation” all along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control, which has seen the rival armies engage in major military build-ups, with the heads of the six regional commands and one training command of the over 12-lakh strong Army.
“De-escalation in eastern Ladakh is not going to be easy. It will take time. We are hoping for the best but are prepared for the worst,” said a source. At the Moldo meeting, India expressed its anger at the barbaric attack on Indian troops by the numerically superior PLA soldiers, armed with nail-studded iron rods and stones, near “Patrolling Point-14” in the Galwan Valley region on June 15.
The attack, which led to an extended skirmish between the rival troops, left Colonel B Santosh Babu and 19 other Indian soldiers dead and 76 injured. Ten other Indian soldiers were also taken captive, only to be released three days later after hectic negotiations.
As earlier reported by TOI, the Chinese soldiers on that day, after initially pulling back a little, came back to erect a “temporary post” near PP-14 on the Indian side of the Galwan region.
The PLA soldiers suddenly attacked the small contingent of Indian troops led by Colonel B Santosh Babu after they were challenged for flouting the phased disengagement agreement thrashed out by the rival commanders on the ground.
Though the Indian Army now holds the area near PP-14, PLA soldiers have built dozens of new fortifications and bunkers as well as taken the dominating heights after occupying the Finger-4 to 8 area on the north bank of Pangong Tso since early-May.

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